EPSRC Doctoral Training Partnership (DTP) Studentships with L-CAS (and others)

Computer Science SpotlightThe University of Lincoln has received funding from the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) to establish a Doctoral Training Partnership (DTP), which will provide skills and training to foster the next generation of world-class research leaders in areas of strategic importance to both EPSRC and the University of Lincoln.

Our training programme prioritises the following three thematic areas of robotics and artificial intelligence: smart energy, medical diagnosis and healthcare support systems, and bio-physics inspired robotics, in which the University has strong research groups. These research groups will provide DTP students with a rich research environment and a broad range of experienced and new researchers.

Each studentship will be associated with a specific project that will be designed to advance fundamental research in computer science or engineering within one of the thematic areas. Interdisciplinary links with other subject areas will also be expected.

We are currently providing the following 8 potential projects for the 2021-22 studentship application round and these are detailed below.

Studentship applications are now open for entry into the DTP programme, starting in October 2021.

Please make sure to check the eligibility criteria before you apply. Normally, a student must have no restrictions on how long they can stay in the UK and have been ordinarily resident in the UK for at least 3 years prior to the start of the studentship. UK students will be eligible for a full studentship, covering the costs of Home fees, a stipend to support living costs for 3.5 years, and a generous research training support grant enabling international travel and participation in the leading conferences and symposia.

Although most DTP students must be UK residents, we also have an opportunity for an international (EU and non-EU) student. The international studentship award will be subject to eligibility, and also the availability of complementary funding (to provide the differential to the international fee rate). You should get in touch with the lead supervisor before applying this award.

Closing date: Midnight, 28 February 2021.

Two projects with L-CAS supervision (but there are more, just click “APPLY HERE” at the bottom)

A Miniaturised Stiffness-controllable Soft Medical Manipulator

Academic contact: Dr Khaled Elgeneidy (kelgeneidy@lincoln.ac.uk), Senior Lecturer, School of Engineering

This PhD studentship is focused on developing a miniaturised soft medical manipulator that utilises a novel controlled-stiffening mechanism to enhance tool stability and force output. This research will involve studying particle jamming through bio-physical modelling and translating that information into an engineering model. Designing this bio-inspired medical robot that can actively change its stiffness, in response to sensor data, and operate in a controlled way is the main focus of this project.

Throughout this project, the PhD candidate will work closely with clinical partners to guide the development of the soft manipulator. The internal supervisory team from the University of Lincoln combines expertise in soft robotics (Dr Khaled Elgeneidy), medical robotics (Prof Mini C. Saaj), and computational physics (Dr Fabien Paillusson). The candidate will carry out research in the Bio-robotics and Medical Technologies Laboratory at the University of Lincoln. There will be opportunities to work collaboratively with Lincoln Medical School. Additionally, the project will be supported by external clinical co-supervisor, Dr Mohamed Thaha, from St Bartholomew’s Hospital, Queen Mary University of London as well as Dr Fulvio Forni from the University of Cambridge, who will act as an external academic co-supervisor.

Supervisory Team:

Dr Khaled Elgeneidy, University of Lincoln
Prof Mini C. Saaj, University of Lincoln
Dr Fabien Paillusson, University of Lincoln

AI-enabled haptic-guided teleoperation: a study on Human-Robot Interaction

Academic contact: Dr Amir Ghalamzan Esfahani (aghalamzanesfahani@lincoln.ac.uk), Associate Professor, Lincoln Institute for Agri-Food Technology

This project aims at developing and testing novel teleoperating robot manipulators and assess their effectiveness. You will be specialising in Human Robot Interaction and will study how various robotic features (such as intelligent haptic guidance) impacts performance, operators’ mental workload, subjective experience, and physiological and brain data.

We are offering a fantastic multi-disciplinary PhD opportunity, fully funded, working with the Lincoln Centre for Autonomous Systems (LCAS), the interactive technologies lab (intlab), and the School of Psychology.
While we have extensively studied haptic-guided shared control for telemanipulation for remote handling in extreme environments, this PhD student will have the opportunity to study this in a wider context and application domain, such as agri-food robotics, and medical robotics. The student will have the opportunity to work with state-of-the-art robotic systems/equipment (e.g. Franka-Emika manipulators and Hpatin Virtuose™ 6D) and benefit from the setups at our group developed during several EU-H2020 and UK-EPSRC funded collaborative projects.

This interdisciplinary project is related to the design, development and implementation of AI, machine learning, and/or robot control solutions for haptic-guided shared control to facilitate teleoperating a robotic manipulator for human users. This project also involves evaluation techniques to assess operators’ mental workload and effort based on physiological and brain data by using portable Brain-Computer Interfaces and data science techniques to reveal the effectiveness of each developed technology. Full training will be provided.

By joining the Doctoral Training Partnership programme at the University of Lincoln you will participate in the fully funded 3.5 years programme supported by a multidisciplinary supervisory team across 3 different schools in the College of Science (School of Computer Science and the intLab, School of Psychology, and Lincoln Institute of Agri-food Technology).

Training opportunities:

  • The PhD student will work with the state-of-the-art robotic equipment.
  • The can gain deep knowledge in Robotic Manipulation, Teleoperation, Control, ML and data analysis and apply them in the real experimentations
  • They can gain significant knowledge for Human Robot Interaction studies and Data Analysis
  • Develop analytical, problem-solving and research skills
  •  Develop coding skills (C++, Python and ROS)
  • Work in collaboration with an active team of researchers within L-CAS and across collaborating universities, including the University of Cambridge, Birmingham, Bristol and QMUL.

They will be working in a collaborative and stimulating environment, strengthened by the cohort-driven activities, where knowledge sharing and joint problem solving is the norm. The multidisciplinary nature of the programme will make you think about problems from a whole new perspective and explore innovative ideas.

We are seeking talented candidates with:

  • MSc (first or upper second-class) in Robotics, AI, Human Factors, Human Computer Interaction, Computer Science, Mechanical Engineering, Electronics, Cybernetics, or related scientific discipline. Applicants who graduated in the UK with a strong first degree, or complementary industry experience are also considered.
  • Good knowledge of robotics, control, ML, AI, Human Robot Interaction.
  • Programming skills (Proficient C++ and/or Python)
  • ROS experience is considered a strong plus
  • Oral and written fluency in English
  • Good communication, team working and presentation skills
  • Experience with real robotic systems is a strong plus.

Supervisory Team:

Dr Amir Ghalamzan Esfahani, University of Lincoln
Dr Horia Maior, University of Lincoln
Dr Julia Foecker, University of Lincoln